When it comes to the elite in the NHL, it’s a very select group. They are the best of the best and are spotlighted at length because of it. The Islanders do have someone in this category. And here’s a hint: it’s not Mathew Barzal. Barzal gets the most recognition because he’s the biggest name for the organization right now.
So if it’s big Barzal, who is it? Answer Adam Pelech. Pelech? Yes it’s him. You wouldn’t know it because the Isles are not given the same respect as other clubs around.
If you watch the Islanders play and Pelech is on the ice, your eyes immediately are glued to him. His unassuming but excellent play, creativity in defending opponents and underrated skill all make him somebody you need to watch. Take it from NBC’s Pierre McGuire who has worked a good portion of both playoff series the Isles have been in. McGuire made it a point in the Penguins series to point out why Pittsburgh needed to go after him at all cost. That’s been the same message for the second round as the Islanders play the Bruins.
You don’t get that much attention without being good.
Pelech is that talented.
He’s continued to evolve under head coach Barry Trotz. He is elite by his coach’s and teammates standards. While some may argue because of his low offensive numbers — Pelech has just one point in the playoffs and recorded just 14 points in the regular season — keep him from being in the conversation with the Victor Hedmans and Roman Josis of the world, he is still one of the better two-way defenders in the league.
Adam Pelech is not here for Nick Ritchie’s bullshit pic.twitter.com/823wrgiXZZ
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) June 1, 2021
The 26-year-old Pelech has been tasked along with his D-partner Ryan Pulock in helping shut down the Boston’s “Perfection Line” after having to deal with Sidney Crosby in the first round. Those two did a wonderful job eliminating Crosby, who was limited to just two points in six games. Pelech really turned it on in the final three contests and didn’t allow 87 any chance to do damage. It’s been a different story through the first two games against the Bruins, but Pelech is showing he can hold his own.
If the Islanders are able to overcome Boston and Pelech excels, there’s no reason he shouldn’t get the recognition he’s long deserved.
Game three tomorrow night is expected to be another huge moment for the Nassau Coliseum. It’s the first time in 28 years the building will have hosted a game in the second round of the playoffs. And with the Isles series tied at one, the Coli is expected to have an electric atmosphere believes Casey Cizikas.